The 22 movies and TV shows we’re bingeing this Thanksgiving weekend
Welcome to Screen Gab, the newsletter for everyone who knows that making it through the holidays with your family sometimes requires a little help.
So whether you’re planning to curl up on the couch together or need to sneak away for a spell, this special Thanksgiving edition of The Times’ weekly guide to at-home viewing has you covered. Below, find 22 recommendations from our film and TV teams, inspired by what we’re looking forward to bingeing this weekend. Turkey sandwiches and leftover pie sold separately.
We’ll be back to our regularly scheduled programming on Dec. 3. Until then, feast your eyes on this list:
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‘The Beatles: Get Back’
John, Paul, George and Ringo. Ringo, George, Paul and John. The Beatles 4ever! Peter Jackson’s “LOTR"-length trilogy cut reframes footage originally shot for Michael Lindsay-Hogg’s 1970 “Let It Be,” which began as a documentary record of the Fab Four creating new music for a vaguely conceived TV special. Where that film has long been taken as a picture of their breakup, Jackson’s film, to judge by previews and reports, flips that interpretation on its head, revealing a band at work in a time of change, not without friction but not without fun and certainly not without history and love. (Available on: Disney+, premieres Thursday) —Robert Lloyd
‘Doom Patrol’ / ‘Titans’
Cue “Titans” and “Doom Patrol,” far from DC on the CW. On “Titans,” Brenton Thwaites mournfully plays Batman’s protege Dick Grayson, who leads a rotating junior league of teenagers with daddy issues (of course) and a stunning alien princess (or two), among others. Lost souls with peculiar powers fuel “Doom Patrol,” including Brendan Fraser as a race car driver turned Robotman and Alan Tudyk in grand voice as the nemesis Mr. Nobody. Behind the masks are heart, soul and stakes; both shows broke my heart twice while I wrote this. Perhaps that’s why each has been renewed for another season. (Available on: HBO Max, now streaming) —Dawn M. Burkes
Films from Nancy Meyers and Nora Ephron
While others lean into the joys of festive Starbucks cups and the early onslaught of holiday movies, for me, this week kicks off that special time of year when I curl up with some cozy classics from Nancy Meyers and Nora Ephron. The journey begins with “You’ve Got Mail” on Thanksgiving morning — nothing beats toiling away in the kitchen with my mom while listening to Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks (aka Shopgirl and NY152) share pleasantries about things like bouquets of sharpened pencils and “The Godfather.” From there, through Friday evening, it’s a comfy, mostly blanket-wrapped marathon of “Sleepless in Seattle,” “The Holiday,” “It’s Complicated,” “Heartburn,” “Baby Boom,” “Father of the Bride” (the sequel too!) and, naturally, “When Harry Met Sally” — paced to allow for plenty of daydreaming through Etsy and Instagram for ways to emulate the spaces of Kathleen Kelly and the like. (Available on: various platforms and VOD, now streaming) —Yvonne Villarreal
For me, it isn’t really turkey time until Rachel makes a shepherd’s pie trifle, Phoebe sneaks in a dog and Brad Pitt yells, “Screw it, bring on the yams!” This show remains supreme when it comes to Thanksgiving-themed episodes, with iconic scenes sealed forever in my memory: Monica shimmying with a turkey on her head, Chandler apologizing all day from a box, Joey eating an entire bird while wearing Phoebe’s maternity pants. And as I do every year, I’ll be watching them all in a day. (Personally, Season 3’s football game and Season 5’s flashbacks are my favorites.) In case you could use the complete guide, they’re included below — with the caveat that Season 2, Episode 8, “The One With the List,” doesn’t really count. (Available on: HBO Max, now streaming) —Ashley Lee
Season 1, Episode 9 – “The One Where Underdog Got Away”
Season 3, Episode 9 – “The One With the Football”
Season 4, Episode 8 – “The One With Chandler in a Box”
Season 5, Episode 8 – “The One With All the Thanksgivings”
Season 6, Episode 9 – “The One Where Ross Got High”
Season 7, Episode 8 – “The One Where Chandler Doesn’t Like Dogs”
Season 8, Episode 9 – “The One With the Rumor”
Season 9, Episode 8 – “The One With Rachel’s Other Sister”
Season 10, Episode 8 – “The One With the Late Thanksgiving”
‘How To With John Wilson’
In this delightfully weird show, which returns to HBO on Friday for its second season, filmmaker John Wilson combines video shot on the streets of New York City with deadpan voiceover to create visual essays about mundane topics that lead in unexpected, darkly funny and surprisingly poignant directions. An episode about scaffolding will turn into a meditation on mortality, for instance, while last season’s finale — ostensibly about Wilson’s failed attempts to make risotto — became an eerie portrait of the city in the frenzied early days of the pandemic. There is nothing about “How To With John Wilson” that screams “Thanksgiving,” exactly, but for me the combination of humanity, humor and empathy makes it ideal holiday viewing. (Available on: HBO Max, premieres Friday) —Meredith Blake
I caught this rousing film about the improbable rise of Venus and Serena Williams in September at the Telluride Film Festival, where it earned cheers in its world premiere. Will Smith’s turn as the hard-charging Richard Williams, who guided his daughters from the hardscrabble courts of Compton to Grand Slam supremacy, has dominated the Oscar conversation — but the entire cast serves up aces. With my tennis-obsessed parents visiting for Thanksgiving and my two teenage daughters off school, I’m hard-pressed to think of a better movie to put on for some post-turkey feel-good family viewing. (Available on: HBO Max, now streaming) —Josh Rottenberg
Idris Elba, Ruth Wilson, Indira Varma, twisty plots, London, Luther’s coat, Nikki Amuka-Bird, completely mad villains, Luther’s gray button-downs — there are a million reasons to binge, or re-binge, Neil Cross’ version of a brilliant but troubled detective who’s just trying to do right. Actually, you can stop with the first one: Idris Elba. (Available on: Hulu, now streaming) —Mary McNamara
We surveyed The Times TV team to come up with a list of the 75 best TV shows you can watch on Netflix. As in, tonight.
It’s (Taylor’s Version) season and Sad Girl Fall is upon us. This Thanksgiving, I’m ready to catch up on the second season of “Modern Love.” What I miss the most about having a commute is the chance to hold space for recreational sadness in the confines of my car while listening to the New York Times’ “Modern Love” podcast. I can’t wait to emulate that experience while watching some of those episodes come to life from the comfort of my own home. I love to hurt my own feelings! (Available on: Amazon Prime, now streaming) —Gabby Fernandez
I have been noticing a lot of enthusiasm on my social feeds for 1953’s “Niagara” ever since it recently began streaming as part of the Criterion Channel’s “Fox Noir” collection, so I am looking forward to catching up to the dark-hearted Technicolor crime story, set amid the scenic wonders of Niagara Falls. Directed by Henry Hathaway and co-written by Charles Brackett, the film, about a femme fatale who wants to murder her husband, could be seen as a “House of Gucci” predecessor — starring Marilyn Monroe as she was coming into herself as a performer and star, and featuring Joseph Cotten with his blend of the suave and the sleazy. (Available on: Criterion Channel, now streaming) —Mark Olsen
Sci-fi drama “Night Raiders” is set in a grim North American dystopia full of militarized drones and future tech, but filmmaker Danis Goulet’s feature debut is very much grounded in the horrors of the past. Elle-Máijá Tailfeathers (“The Body Remembers When the World Broke Open,” “Blood Quantum”) stars as a resourceful Cree woman named Niska who joins a rebellion to save her daughter (Brooklyn Letexier-Hart) from a government facility that severs children from their families and reeducates them into soldiers. An emotional allegory for the painful legacy of residential schools in Canada and the U.S., “Night Raiders” builds a broken world that mirrors our own and breathes fresh life into its genre trappings, while casting a hopeful eye to the future. Executive produced by Taika Waititi, it’s among 2021’s emergent wave of exciting film and TV projects made by and starring Indigenous artists, and well worth catching up to this week. (Available on: VOD, now streaming) —Jen Yamato
Kevin Hart and Wesley Snipes playing brothers sounds like an irresistible combination, and their new series “True Story” does not disappoint. The two stars have dynamic chemistry in the Netflix thriller, which is filled with twists and turns. Hart plays a Hart-like comedian called the Kid. Although the Kid sells out arenas and can command multimillion-dollar paydays for films, his personal life is a bit of a mess. His relationship with his older brother Calvin (Snipes), whom he continually bails out of financial scrapes, is particularly strained. Matters spin out of control after the Kid brings a female admirer back to his hotel room after a performance and she winds up dead in his bed the next morning. Hart is continually compelling in the dramatic role. (Available on: Netflix, premieres Wednesday) —Greg Braxton
‘What We Do in the Shadows’
I’m looking forward to finally getting uninterrupted time with the recently completed third season of “What We Do in the Shadows” this holiday weekend. “Centuries-old vampires trying to navigate modern life in suburban Staten Island” is the setup for this comedy to be thankful about. Sometimes described as “‘The Office’ with vampires,” the mockumentary-style series follows traditional bloodsuckers Nandor, Nadja and Laszlo, their energy vampire roommate, Colin Robinson, and Nandor’s human familiar, Guillermo. (What’s an “energy vampire,” you ask? A vampire that sucks the life out of you by boring you to death.) The show is plenty clever and absurd and laugh-out-loud funny, and its appeal is also its straightforward and delightfully uncomplicated stakes. (Available on: Hulu, now streaming) —Tracy Brown
What does it look like when married serial killers attend couples therapy? Couples therapy. Netflix’s psychological thriller is a whip-smart dark comedy that mixes slasher-movie aesthetics with the modern-day rigors of dating and relationships. It follows Joe Goldberg (Penn Badgley) over three seasons, from New York to the West Coast, as he flees his latest string of crimes in his search for the perfect mate. The internal dialogue of this disarming serial killer/bookworm is worth the price of admission as he battles his impulses, justifies his ghoulish behavior and concocts complex plots to win over his latest obsession. But what happens when he becomes the prey? A husband? And a father? Just watch. (Available on: Netflix, now streaming) —Lorraine Ali
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